My Name is Daniel Collins and this is my story according to me and my maker. It is thru my eyes that this transpired. Here I go:
I was born on November 15th, 1965 on the Southwest side of Chicago to Daniel D. & Patricia Collins. My Father was Irish and My Mother is Polish. I have 1 sister named Catherine that is 3 years i believe younger than I It was a pretty basic and ordinary middle class Union raising. My parents were church going people and so was the family. My Mother was raised Catholic, but my Father was raised Protestant, so we for a bit in my younger years, went to Foursquare Gospel Church in Oak Lawn IL.
My adolescence was pretty insignificant as I look back. I was very small and not exactly tough back in the day. My Father was active in tae qwon do at the local Y, so they enrolled me in Judo and i did that for a bit. My Father also enjoyed piano and i did enjoy music, so I began taking Piano lessons during this time.
During my adolescence, being the oldest and the only Male, my Father was pretty strict on me. Some would say oh Danny he is just hyper, and today they would probably put me on ADHD meds. But for whatever, i was hit with a belt quite a bit in my younger days. Sometimes it was so bad that I could not go to school due to the bruises on my legs. This abuse was always disregarded by family , except one time my Mothers mother told my Father that if it ever happened again, she would contact the Police.
Things were moving downfield in other areas of my life until 6 grade. At that time in 1977, the Chicago public schools started busing kids to distant neighborhoods. My parents were freaked out about the possibility of my Sister and I going to a far away land(sarcasm) and transferred us to a Catholic school in 1977. That was major life change #1.
I was still small when I transferred to St Josephs in Summit IL. However, I had HUGE feet!! So big that the new people I met were jumping all over that shortcoming. I was so small also that yes i was even running from the big girls wanting to kick the shit outta me!!
Then in the fall of 1977 the Docs removed my appendix. Within a few months i grew close to 7 inches to 6' 3'' and 100 lbs of nothing . Tall and lean like a bean but remember I had taken judo and things began to swing the other way. This was also the time when I first tried Cannabis.
By the end of 8th grade, things had started to get out of hand. I was staying out late. I started smoking Marlboros of course like all of or I should say most of my friends did that had older brothers. It was the time of Foghat, Ted Nugent, Lynryd Skynryd, UFO and of course Led Zeppelin. But i got thru anyway. I remember my 8th grade teacher Mr Ritchie getting so pissed at me he open handed popped me upside my head. I knew then my school daze were coming to an end.
I somehow managed to get into St. Laurence HS in Burbank, IL in 1979. I tried out for the freshman football and jumped right in. I ran across some old friends from grammar school there and of course some that came from St Joes. In October i recall maybe early November, I was called into the Brothers office. I was told that people had stated I was dealing speed ie. Black Beauty to people. To this day I do not know why that was ever done, but even more I do not know why I said ya i did it. Maybe it was the fact i couldn't believe my friends would throw me under the bus? Maybe I just wanted to be cool or what I thought was cool. Listen, I was the only boy in my Family. In grammar school Happy days was the show everywhere. Everyone wanted to be the Fonz. I was Fonzie #3. I remember being told that today in my 50's like it happened last week.
My Parents freaked out!! My Father and i that day were ruined for the rest of our lives. It was never the same all fake from this day forward. My Parents decided that I was too much to handle, so at the ripe old age of 13, I was admitted to the 5th floor of Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn IL. Psych unit. Yep my time in the system of life and learning coping skills were just about to be open wide up!!
I was in and out of that hospital 3 times over the next 14 -16 months. I have seen people that were out of it, seen people that got electric shock treatment, been restrained with leather straps arms up, legs shackled and waist tied down for overnight and man i can go on. At this point I was 14, i had failed out of my freshman year at Kennedy high school and had been recruited into a south-side street gang and enjoyed it quite frankly.
My shrink & Parents decided the best thing for me was to go away to Allendale School for Boys in Lake Villa IL. That was the last time at the age of 14, that I ever lived or slept in my Parents home again in this life.
Things got adjusted OK @ Allendale. My coping skills had been developed after 3 times in the psych unit and already going to AA meetings at 13. IT was wild.
I began playing sports at Allendale ie boxing, football, basketball and baseball. I started lettering in high school and things were going well. My Parents and I decided that it would be better if i did not leave the area so i was lucky enough to find a foster family that I connected with . Well karma reared its head and just when things were smooth, the past bit me. Remember i failed my freshman year? well back in the day you had 4 years and ONLY 4 years to play high school football. Well since i was now on the 5 year plan, My senior year was actually my junior year yadayada, you get the point. I was crushed. Coach Wapon told me coming back from UW Whitewater journalism camp that I had lost me appeal. I was done. Within 2 months i had dropped out of High school and went to live with my grandparents because my parents did not want me home. My father and i hadn't talked for almost 1 year at that time and it was only getting worse.
That was devastating to me. I had finally set myself up pretty good in this small community of Antioch IL. So i decided to join the Army. I went back to Chicago and lived with my grandparents because of course my Father wanted NOTHING to do with a high school dropout. I got a job at Haunted Trails golf & started working and waiting to go into the Army. I met my 1st wife Colleen during this time thru my cousin Danette. I went from no girlfriends at all to falling for this Irish girl. Long story short, I was TDP'd from the Army and came home got married and had a son Daniel J Jr who was born 7/84. Things though never worked out for her and i and our Irish tempers and drinking habits. I remember the last time we ever stayed under the same rough. She was cooking bacon and the Cowboys and the Bears were getting ready to play. The grease jumped up and burned her and she started throwing pots and plates all over. I started yelling and the fight was off. That was it. I lost my oldest son that day also. I have not seen Daniel Jr. in over 2.5 decades. Attempts have been shunned and at this time of life , I understand and we can only answer for what we can control.
I had gotten into business at the age of 19 at Prudential Insurance. In the building I was in was a bank teller named Dina. I was interested the minute i saw her talking to my buddy Eddy Jans. It took me 5 times walking up and down the stairs in the fire escape to get the courage to ask her out. It was my heyday. I was 20 years old. The '85 Bears were rocking it! It was just too fast and as life went on we both realized she wanted to get out of the house and I just wanted someone at home. We did have 2 wonderful kids, but in any divorce there is always a loser. Kevin & Emily were born in 87 & 89.
I ventured out to Phoenix AZ in 2001. Dina and I were done. We tried to save our deal after i had an affair, but it was too much for her and quite frankly I was not ready to calm down anyway. I had learned how to tattoo from Junebug @ The Zone and my life was getting ready to change.
I came out to PHX AZ on the 1/8/2001. I knew no one. I had been flirting with a lady named Sue on AOL chat rooms, but I was free for the first time in over 15 years. I was 35.
I was lucky to land a gig right away @ KFNX 1100 am in PHX as an Executive Producer. I started getting antsy though because I had paid to learn the Tattooing business. Old school apprentice where i scrubbed tubes , built needles and drew flash for 1 year before i tattooed for 20% ha...
I then started the Valley of the Sun Tattoo Jamboree. I went from no one to again someone riding a wave in the greatest Business I could ever want! I met my 3rd wife Angela @ that first show and that began a 13 year downward slide into the hell of mankind and drug abuse. In 2004, I started to have issues with anxiety. Now listen, I have always been a true Scorpio and have had anxiety a tad, but it got to be crazy! I started getting rushed to the ER in AZ and having tachycardia EKG's. The problem was they were not diving in enough to see what the issue was. I had started to lose weight and my eyes started to bulge. After the first couple of visits to the hospital, they started prescribing Xanax to me. Finally a resident in August of 2005 decided to test me for Graves Disease and it was discovered that I was suffering from Thyroid storm and quite frankly was in danger of stroking out. I was rushed by ambulance to Banner Desert MESA and admitted to ICU. It took 2 days for the Docs to stabilize my heart. It took another 4 months before on my 40th bday, i swallowed a pill that ablated my thyroid forever but probably saved my life. We had moved to Chicago at this time and after all of it we were still together and getting by. Her and I were married from 2002 until 2014. We traveled this country, lived in 12 cities or towns in 13 years, had 2 tattoo shops, 2 failed Tattoo events according to some, not to others, go figure ....worked as a roughneck in North Dakota and ended up hating each other to where we have blocked one another to this day. I wish her or her daughters no ill will. We all grew from it and all made mistakes during it. But I am glad it is over and glad those kids made it thru OK. It was just a wild experience from start to finish.
After Angela and her children left me on February 1st, 2013, i went back home . I was lost and on so many pills i knew I was in trouble.
2/27/2013 I chewed my last xanax bus.I was in a dead end gig, sleeping in an Extended Stay by the airport, depressed and had to get some help. I checked into a detox unit in Des Plaines IL and that was it, For the drugs. The story was morphing even more now.
When I was thru the 28 day program, I had no where to go and no money. I was yes basically homeless. I was couch surfing with people i knew or worked with, sometimes I would sleep at the office downtown Chicago that I worked at. I would prop up 2 chairs on the floor and would try to catch a few. I decided to go back to AZ and try it again.
I went thru 4 jobs for no reason. I just couldn't believe what was going on with my life. Quite frankly I was alone. My family still wanted nothing to do with me. When my grandmother died in 2003, I was given my inheritance by my aunt and told that i was now alone since Grandmother had passed. This was the ;last of anything I would ever get. I was the only son, grandson, nephew. They were jealous of the fact that my Grandmother would always take my side in things. Yes, I must admit, I needed a punch in the mouth maybe, but the hypocrisy of my first cousin being married to a registered sex offender and me not having any criminal felonies and NOT being allowed anywhere within that family dynamic is mind blowing and shows the hatred they all have had for me all these years.
When things were getting bad in Phoenix and I just couldn't get my depression or my waffling i call it, my mentor and Brother Troy calls it a quagmire, Troy called in June of 2014.
He says You look like shit! I had met Troy in 2008 and we just hit it off . When things were getting bad in PHX again, Troy sent me $500, an Ultimate kit and a plane ticket home and said come do my web stuff.
So after 3 months of hanging with Troy, I needed to get back into life and checked into a sober living home in Chicago. I would go to the meetings in Elmwood Park and i met my 4th wife Melissa. We were married on July 17, 2015, 4 days after the death of my Father. My family and i to this day have no connection at all. My father obit which is posted on my Instagram wall never lists me as his son, his only son. I have been told that the reason?...they didn't like my lifestyle.
I have reached out to family many times over the past 5-6 years, but to no avail. Truly at this point I believe it is more of a cancer than a good thing. Yes i have lost 3 children in this life, but they also have lost a Father because of lies and misstatements from others. I share this story now and embrace it because it is who I am. I have been thru more than the most but less than many. I have no Felonies on my record, but have failed in a few businesses along the way. I used to be about the shiny things, but what has transpired in my life has taught me one important thing: "God ain't taking $100's in the next life"! I just hope this helps others realize that the secret that I have found in this life is how you cope and respond to things. How you handle your uniqueness along with the crowded environment we all live in today.
This is our next Chapter. Thanks for joining it and helping me celebrate Recovery